Breast Cancer Screening Reduces Mastectomy Rates
Screening for breast cancer can reduce the need for mastectomy, according to a report published in the British Medical Journal.
The study of 60,000 women found the rates of breast removal surgery fell by almost half following the introduction of a screening program. Researchers believe screening detects cancer early, so women can be treated with minor surgery that conserves the breast rather than radical surgery that results in its removal.
"Some scientists believe screening programs could be harmful to women by increasing the rates of aggressive treatments such as mastectomy. But this study shows that screening actually reduces the need for major surgery by detecting the disease before it spreads," said study author Dr. Stephen Duffy, from Cancer Research UK in London.
"When breast cancer is caught early, women can be treated with less invasive surgery such as lumpectomy, where only the tumor and a section around it is removed from the breast."